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am 15. Dezember 1999
Before you read my review, I ask that you read the majority of the other reviews. This may give you a better feel for what I'm about to say.
This is a FANTASTIC book. It is destined to become a classic. But, after reading all the reviews, I have to make the following comment. This book may be written for a really strong player. (or players.)
I think you should be at least 1600-1800 to grasp much of what goes on in this book. There are certainly many valuable insights which will make you a better thinker and "Calculator." But in the long run, your calculating powers will already have to be fairly well developed to really benefit from this book. I was already a Master when this book came out. I spent close to 6 weeks with this book, and it made me a better thinker. But two of my students who have bought and read this book felt it did NOT make them better at calculating. Sadly, it may be true. The average GM may not remember what it was like to struggle to see one move ahead. Because they do not understand [or remember] the problems, it is difficult for them to address them.
If you think you are ready for this book, buy it. But if you have any doubts, get a couple of simple primers on tactics. Maybe "Logical Chess, Move by Move," by Chernev. Wait until your rating gets over 15-1600. Then buy this book.
On the positive side, this book is beautifully written. The examples are mostly very carefully chosen. And the book is wonderfully and beautifully annotated. This was truly a work of love by the author. If you are just looking for many, many hours of enjoyment, then you want this book.
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am 13. Mai 2000
Can't understand the unrestrained adulation some reviewers have given this book. Soltis can write very well - see for example 'Soviet Chess' which is a scholarly work, or see 'Confessions of a Chess Grandmaster'. The title being reviewed here is also one of his better efforts.
The book explains the pragmatic realities of calculation very well indeed. A thoughtful reading of this book will enhance one's understanding of what to calculate, how to calculate, how far to calculate, and what positions deserve calculation. By implication, one's strength would improve.
It's difficult to provide a synopsis of this book because, like Kotov, it's not coherently orgainised but is a compendium of practical wisdom concerning calculation. Chapters include 'Trees and how to build them', 'Rechecking' and 'The Practical Calculator' - all of importance to a player.
I've given this four stars (and not five) for 3 reasons. The first is lack of organisation. The second, and more serious, is the sheer number of analytical mistakes. The very first example (Piket - Sosonko) has an error. The sacrifice 1.Rxh7 is actually unsound. 3....Bf5, which Soltis mentions in passing, holds the game for Black. Or examine the analysis to Ljubojevic - Stein, on page 58. 11.Qf4 works fine for White. Soltis hasn't done his spadework. The examples that are correct are frequently so because they've been pulled, with analysis, from other sources.This brings me to third criticism: many of the examples are hackneyed, and frequently don't exemplify the ideas well.
But these caveats aside, I can recommend this book. There is material to ponder over here. A pity Soltis didn't give the book the time and energy it deserved; it would have been a sterling work.
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am 5. Juli 1999
I am only a 1900-level player, so I can hardly be said to have an expert opinion, but I feel that this book is strong on "what" calculation is and weak on "how" to calculate. Of course, one looks at the board, gets ideas, selects candidate moves,and evaluates possible positions. And Soltis provides plenty of examples yet having studied the book, I can't honestly say I'm doing anything better. Not his fault, I know, still I wish these GM authors would remember that although THEY can look at a board and unconsciously, automatically, find a plan and possible move sequences, weaker players need more protection in the clinches. They need sometimes to work backwards: visualize the desired position first. Sometimes they need examples that explain WHY the author chose certain candidate moves, move orders, and so on. This book's intention are great, the introduction fantastic, the remaining chapters leave a great deal to be desired. Everyone else seems to find this a great help, but I actually feel my already shaky ability decreased after reading it. GMs should coach ordinary mortals first.
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am 4. Juni 1998
If chess is a thinking game, why are so few books written for amateurs about how chessmasters think? Andy Soltis remedies this problem with a thorough and comprehensive look at the thinking processes of chess players. Chapters include: where do ideas come from?, how to build a calculation tree (a much clearer discussion than in Kotov's classic: Think Like a Grandmaster), when to play the most forcing moves at the start or end of a sequence, how to actually calculate variations, and what criteria to use to choose between two variations which appear equal in nature. Following are chapters on common and typical problems of chess thinking--monkey wrenches and oversights. Finally, Soltis discusses, in a chapter titled The Practical Calculator, the differences between masters in their thinking and how, what and when to calculate during a game. Soltis makes a convincing case that chess is NOT 99% tactics, an often used phrase, but rather 99% calculation. The reader cannot help but improve his or her chess game by reading about the nature of the thinking processes in the game that challenges us to do just that--think.
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am 30. April 1997
Soltis uses current, as well as classical, game
positions to bring out his own ideas of how to
play chess. The book is very
insightful, with plenty of ideas to add to your
personal array of tactical and strategic aims.

His best commentary is in the 'ideas' chapter.
Soltis maintains that if you do not have a general
idea of how you want your game to progress, then
you are merely moving pieces around. You must
have a plan. But to have a plan and stick to
it without regard for changes in position and
serendipitous events is equally foolish.

Many of his example games, however, use the
familiar theme of attacking a castled king. This
could get monotonous, but if you are looking to
brush up this area of your playing, then 'The
Inner Game of Chess' will teach you what you
need to get you moving in the right direction.

- Barry Ball
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am 10. November 1999
Well, for someone to expose the fallacies of Kotov and to do it a few years before Nunn, Tisdall etc. are all getting high praise for doing it is a lot. People who think that this book needs a few more exercises have missed the point. To have to use variations to justify our play is not Soltis' premise. His premise, to my mind, is best expressed as follows: just go your own way and work hard at calculating better. In the end, the mistakes and themes you will see will fall into these catergories, but since your technique will be unique, I can't tell you your pitfalls but there is loads of material to practice with in any chess book. Tal, Capablanca, Botvinnik all did it differently - you will too.
A book that should be on the shelf of any player - light but educative reading.
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am 1. Dezember 1999
Before reading this book I had read My System, and used that as a basis to start playing chess more seriously. However, I found that my tactics and my ability to plan ahead in the game were dismal, so it was difficult to put more than the basics of My System into place on the chess board.
The Inner Game Of Chess helped a lot of different ideas I had about chess gel together, and has helped my to play a better co-ordinated game. I need to go through it again, and now also need a book of chess puzzles to work through to strengthen the knowledge gained from The Inner Game Of Chess.
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am 27. Dezember 1998
"The Inner Game of Chess" is one of the few books I have read that was devoted to chess calculation! Kotov's "Think Like a Grandmaster" discusses calculation and the positional aspects of chess. Soltis goes much deeper into the process of calculation and has many more examples. Soltis shows you how to use your imagination to help you calculate successfully by combining ideas, changing the move order, understanding forced and un-forced variations, move counting and how visualize the winning position! "The Inner Game of Chess" will be a classic!
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am 21. Oktober 1999
I started reading this book right after reading Silman's "Reassess Chess" Book. I was let down and felt that the book somehow got stuck on calculation and left it up to you to figure out how to do it. Calculation abilities vary greatly, even among GM's. It seems that instinct is used more often in deeper positions than calculation. Not a horrible book, but for some reason, it didn't get me excited with some new revelation in my amateur mind.
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am 12. Mai 1998
I recently bought this book from amazon.com and I have to say that I love it! I had all of the book knowledge, openings, statagy et cetra. I just didn't have the ability to see more than 2 moves ahead in the game, and usually those calculations were based upon faulty assumptions. His book has taught me how to visualize the board as I calculate, which he actually has you practising in the first chapter! I love this book and I highly recommend it.
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